Introduction to calibration knowledge of Gas detector equipment
Gas detector equipment provides a reliable first line of defense against gas leak hazards. But without proper calibration, they may not perform optimally, exposing the ship and its crew to a myriad of potential risks from onboard gases.
Determining how and when to calibrate your gas detector equipment is an important aspect of any ship's safety process, ensuring your system is always ready to detect and alert the crew to potentially dangerous leaks.
Why is Gas Detector Equipment Calibration Important?
To maintain the reliable performance of most gas detector devices, regular calibration is essential. During calibration, thorough testing is also performed to ensure that the gas detector maintains sufficient sensitivity and response to the desired gas exposure. Calibration is usually performed on board, but can also be performed by specially trained personnel externally.
Calibration is often accompanied by a thorough service and maintenance check of the gas detector, ensuring that the system itself and all its components are functioning properly.
It is also important not to confuse bump testing with calibration. Bump testing involves briefly exposing one or more sensors to gas to verify response and alarm functionality, while full calibration is more in-depth and thorough. Bump testing is quick and easy and should be performed regularly before each use of a portable gas detector.
By having a calibration and repair plan in place, you can ensure your gas detector equipment is performing optimally and your crew is fully protected. Failure to calibrate at the recommended intervals is also against the law and can result in substantial fines and penalties.
How do I know how often my gas detector needs to be calibrated?
How often an organization calibrates gas detector equipment depends on many factors, including the type, model, frequency of use, environment or placement, and application of the gas detector. Some factors to consider when developing a calibration and maintenance plan for your gas detectors include:
*Type of sensor used
*Type of gas detector - is it fixed or portable?
*Intended use and application of the detector
*Maintenance Program - Is bump testing a regular part of your maintenance program?
Has physical or environmental damage occurred? Do you suspect that your gas detector may not be functioning optimally? It is always better to be cautious in such situations.
What does gas detector calibration include?
During calibration, a gas detector's sensor (or sensors) is exposed to a certified gas concentration for a fixed period of time. This determines whether the gas detector provides accurate readings, verifying the efficiency of the sensor and the system behind it. Calibration gases are used to simulate exposures covering the specific types of gases the detector needs to test for.
An important aspect of gas detector calibration is a process called "zeroing"—setting the sensor to recognize ambient air as clean air. Calibration in a contaminated environment can produce inaccurate readings, which may affect the future performance of the gas detector. If the sensor is not exposed to any potential contaminants. It can usually be zeroed using the air in the room - but this is not always certain. Using a zeroing cylinder is the only reliable way to ensure that calibration is performed optimally. And protected from potential external factors
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